C/O: Andy Lyons
“The season is over and it’s as disappointing a season as the Phillies have had in quite some time.” Those were the final words said by the Philadelphia Phillies play-by-play announcer, Tom McCarthy after the finish of the 2020 season where the Phillies finished 28-32 after squandering an opportunity to end their 8 year postseason drought. After the season-ending shutout loss to Tampa Bay, the Phillies knew they had some holes to fill in the offseason. One of the concerns was how they were going to handle J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto, 30, is coming off a season where he slashed .266/.349/.455 and was a part of the All-MLB second team.
Realmuto signed a catcher's record, $10 million arbitration deal before the start of the 2020 season. Realmuto has been under arbitration for three years, dating back to his last season with Miami in 2018 and was seeking a long-term deal with a competitive club at the end of the season. The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals were 2 of the front runners in the pursuit for Realmuto’s services along with the Phillies. It may jeopardize the Phillies chances for a postseason run if they let Realmuto slip away to one of those teams, especially since they are in the same division.
Long time MLB executive and new Phillies President of Baseball Operations, David Dombrowski, made it clear that keeping Realmuto in Phillies pinstripes was a priority for the club. When asked about J.T. during an MLB Network radio interview in early January, Dombrowski said: "[Realmuto's] somebody we would love to have as part of our organization, but we'll see what ends up happening in that regard." Realmuto had to feel wanted hearing that from someone with the accomplishments that Dombrowski has racked up throughout his career. Before landing the Phillies job, Dombrowski led the Miami Marlins and Boston Red Sox to World Series championships and accumulated 4 Executive of the Year awards in his 43 year career.
After the Phillies expressed their willingness to offer Realmuto a multi-year deal worth over $100 million, Realmuto decided it was best to stay in Philadelphia after all. The Phillies confirmed Friday that they will be signing Realmuto to a five-year deal. They haven't confirmed for how much, but sources say that Realmuto will receive a total of $115.5 million over five years. If the deal goes through, Realmuto would receive the highest average annual value for any catcher in history at $23.1 million per year, surpassing the 2009 MVP, Joe Mauer ($23 million per year). This deal would make Realmuto a staple in the Phillies lineup for years to come.